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Syria’s academics, caught ‘between a hammer and a hard place’

By Barbara Crossette

An interview with an IIE-SRF Syrian scholar about his ordeal in Syria and getting to the United States. “'The Syrian regime and the opposition show the same lack of regard for human rights and international law,' said the professor, an author and reviewer of legal books, adding that the pressures on scholars — 'economic, social, psychological' — are intense. Among the victims of indiscriminate and sometimes targeted shelling of campuses are students who in another era, under different circumstances, would have been considered the builders of the country’s future."

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IIE, Finland partner to offer safe harbor to professors

By Caitlin Emma

Politico features the IIE-CIMO partnership in their Morning Education roundup. "'Universities benefit because they save somebody’s life, they get usually a distinguished scientist or humanist, and the students get a double benefit – they get taught or work in a lab with somebody who is world known, but they also learn something about where the scholar comes,' said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of IIE."

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New Research Voices publishes inaugural issue featuring IIE-SRF scholars

New Research Voices (NRV) is a community platform for researchers to share their work, opinions, and ideas with other researchers from around the globe. NRV’s inaugural journal issue, Researchers in Exile, features contributors who “have all faced persecution for their work and have sought sanctuary at universities overseas where they continue, despite the many obstacles they have faced, to strive for a better world through their academic endeavors.” Including articles by IIE-SRF fellows from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Syria, the issue explores academic freedom in sites of oppression and the ordeals faced by scholars violently driven out of their native countries.

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IIE-SRF announces new partnership with Finnish government to provide scholars safe haven in Finland

The IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) has announced a new partnership with the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture’s Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) to provide safe places in Finland for threatened scholars from Iraq and Syria to continue their academic work. IIE and CIMO kicked off the partnership today by hosting a breakfast reception with CIMO and other Finnish representatives. At the event, a professor from Syria spoke about his experience coming from Syria with the support of a fellowship from IIE-SRF, which enabled him to be a visiting scholar at a U.S. university.

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Fleeing Syrian war, student violinist finds haven in Illinois

By Kathy Bergen

The Chicago Tribune shares the story of one Syrian student who escaped Syria and the war through scholarships and grants facilitated by the IIE Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis. "Monmouth and DePaul caught her eye because they were part of an Institute of International Education consortium launched in 2012 to aid Syrian students. The Illinois Institute of Technology helped form the consortium, and Illinois State University belongs as well. ‘Chicago, especially, has been a safe-haven city for Syrian students and scholars,’ said Daniel Obst, an IIE administrator.”

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IIE-SRF partners with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to launch new initiative

IIE-SRF is honored to partner with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation on its launch of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative. With funding available beginning in summer 2016, the Initiative will allow up to 20 scientists and scholars who are under threat from political persecution and war to continue their research for two to three years at German universities and research institutions. IIE-SRF will provide partnering institutions with assistance in identifying and evaluating candidates, pre- and post-arrival advice, and transition support for scholars going off the fellowship. In addition, IIE-SRF will collaborate with the Humboldt Foundation and Scholars at Risk to organize events for German universities, with IIE-SRF in particular aiming to convey best practices in scholar rescue to German institutions.

The launch of the Phillip Schwartz Initiative comes at a critical time when scholars around the world need sanctuary from persecution and violence more than ever. Applications are now open. Visit the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation website to learn more.

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Deakin offers new start for Iraqi scholar

Deakin University profiles IIE-SRF Scholar Maysaa Al Mohammedawi of Iraq and the work she is doing on the medical potential of nanotechnology.

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Saving Syria’s ‘lost generation’

By Heather Horn

What do you call an entire generation that never even finishes college? That’s the threat facing Syria’s young adults. In the years leading up to the current civil war, enrollment figures for Syrian tertiary education had been climbing steadily upward—from 12 percent of the college-age population in 2002, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, to 26 percent in 2010, on the eve of the Syrian uprising. Now, the estimated 100,000 university-qualified refugees currently scattered throughout the Middle East and Europe must place their hopes in schools outside Syria—and that’s to say nothing of those still inside the country, where few educational institutions remain functional. In neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, all of which have been overwhelmed with refugees since the start of the conflict, only a fraction of students have found ways to continue their studies, despite the number of Syrian students in Turkish universities, for example, reportedly quadrupling in recent years. With professors and researchers displaced as well, Syria’s entire university infrastructure is at risk.

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View on Migration: Universities welcome Syrian scholars

By Shyamantha Asokan

SciDev.Net featured IIE-SRF in a recent article on the effect of the Syrian crisis on the country’s professors and the role that universities globally play in providing these scholars with safe haven to continue their academic work. IIE-SRF Senior Research and Communications Manager James King was interviewed about IIE-SRF and the program’s efforts in response to the Syrian crisis. King comments, “We’re not only working to save lives, although that is the most important thing, we’re also saving minds and careers.” He adds, “To ignore that intellectual capital is to the peril of Syria and the Middle East as a whole. That expertise will be essential to rebuilding Syria one day.”

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From Warzone to U.S. Campuses: Stories of Syrian Professors Making Impact

By Jim Luce

The Huffington Post recently featured a story about the impact of two IIE-SRF Fellows from Syria on their host university campuses in Salisbury, Maryland, where they continue their research. Dr. Adib Sha’ar specializes in computer engineering and has focused his research on detecting fraud in voting machines. A pharmacologist, Dr. Khaled Hasan researches the hormone leptin, with the potential to drastically lower the cost of blood pressure medications. The article highlights how these scholars and their stories have impacted IIE Trustee Mitzi Perdue and spurred her commitment to helping address the Syrian refugee crisis. As Ms. Perdue notes, “The reason I volunteer for IIE is because I believe so strongly in what they do…IIE-SRF knows that saving the lives of scholars means that two of the most important functions of civilization can be met: adding to our store of knowledge and teaching future students.”

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